Pyne’s backflip on reforms a source of principal pain

The federal government’s backflip on Gonski funding has angered school principals as education funding worth billions of dollars is in doubt.

Despite the Coalition’s promises before the federal election of being “in lockstep” with the Labor Party on the Gonski education funding reforms, schools’ budgets for next year were released in October without the additional Gonski funding.

Schools were told that the money they were expecting through the Gonski model was in the financial budget period, and not school-year budgets.

The state government had previously told schools to expect an increase in funding from the start of next year.

Last week, federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the government would scrap the Gonski model and renegotiate another deal with all states and territories to take effect in 2015.

Mr Pyne labelled the Gonski model “a complete shambles” and an “incomparable mess”.

Last week, Mr Pyne confirmed that some schools might lose funding, despite promising on August 29 that “you can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school”.

Now Mr Pyne says the Coalition will match the former Labor government’s “funding envelope,” but that handouts to individual schools may change.

Findon Primary School in Mill Park was earmarked to receive $2,589,208 in the next six years under the Gonski scheme, according to figures released prior to the deal struck between Victoria and the federal government.

But even before Mr Pyne had confirmed his plans to scrap the Gonski model, Findon principal Angelika Ireland said the general understanding among schools was that there would be no extra funding next year.

“As school principal of Findon Primary School I would gladly embrace any additional funding that supports my students’ learning,” Ms Ireland said.

“But as all principals are, I’m disappointed that the federal government’s Gonski arrangements that were anticipated are going back to the drawing board.”